'Tis the season to be a feminist! Feminist discourse has been at the forefront of cultural critique for a while now, and it's showing no signs of going anywhere in 2016, so you might as well join the discussion now. If you need some help getting motivated to do so, there's plenty of inspiration to be had from rousing feminists and their eloquent words. I'm not just talking about Beyoncé pop feminism (although that's fun and sometimes important too) — I'm talking from the horse's mouth, capital F Feminists who have fought on the front lines for gender equality. Because that's all that feminism really is (in case you needed a refresher): gender equality.
Feminine empowerment tokenism isn't the same as establishing a world in which everyone is treated the same regardless of their gender. A world where men and women earn equal pay for the same jobs, where women aren't forced to walk around in a slut-shaming culturer that diminishes their autonomy, and where we give women (of all races and sexualities) the same economic, political and social rights, choices and liberties as we do men. Meanwhile, those rights, choices and liberties should be passed out unconditionally and judgement-free, the same way they are for men. If you need some pep in your feminist step, here are some feminist quotes to inspire you:
1. Toni Morrison
He licked his lips. “Well, if you want my opinion–”
“I don’t,” she said. “I have my own.”
From Beloved .
2. Jacqueline Rose
Patriarchy thrives by encouraging women to feel contempt for themselves.
Quoted in 80 Books No Feminist Should Read .
3. Uma Narayan
[M]en who share household and child-rearing responsibilities with women are mistaken if they think that this act of choice, often buttressed by the gratitude and admiration of others, is anything like the woman’s experience of being forcibly socialized into these tasks and of having others perceive this as her natural function in the scheme of things.
4. Mary Elizabeth Williams
Here’s the even bigger truth: We don’t want to make anybody “not male.” Many, many of us — gay, straight, everywhere in between — like men. We want to like men. We work with them and live with them and raise children — including male children! — with them and count them as our friends and allies. That’s how we know when they’re speaking and acting in ways that are legitimately appropriate, and not condescending and crappy. So when we say that you’re not doing that, try believing us. Try not curling up in a ball and playing the boo hoo hoo I can’t please you people card. Sure you can. You just have to show us you even want to.
5. Jane Austen
I hate to hear you talk about all women as if they were fine ladies instead of rational creatures. None of us want to be in calm waters all our lives.
6. Rebecca West
“I myself have never been able to find out precisely what feminism is: I only know that people call me a feminist whenever I express sentiments that differentiate me from a doormat.”
Writing for feminist weekly the Clarion.
7. Gloria Steinem
"Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. That’s their natural and first weapon. She will need her sisterhood."
Writing for New York Magazine.
8. bell hooks
"All too often women believe it is a sign of commitment, an expression of love, to endure unkindness or cruelty, to forgive and forget. In actuality, when we love rightly we know that the healthy, loving response to cruelty and abuse is putting ourselves out of harm’s way."
In all about love .
9. Sheng Wang
"“Why do people say "grow some balls"? Balls are weak and sensitive. If you wanna be tough, grow a vagina. Those things can take a pounding.”
At the Mixtape Comedy Show .
Images: Giphy (5)